Category Archives: Events

Easter Eggs and Semana Santa

Ready For Feria de Abril, Sevilla   

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                                  April 21, 2011

Not unusually, my Easter celebrations as a child involved hunting for colored eggs. My Dad liked an excuse to give us money, so he’d write prices on a few eggs, hide them, and the finder could redeem them for a quarter or even a dollar!  Later that evening, we’d sit down to a baked ham and scalloped potato dinner with my extended family. Easter in Spain is one of the most somber and dramatic holidays, especially during Semana Santa. Sevilla and many other cities shut down for the week proceeding Easter and religious penitents march in processions through the streets until Easter Sunday. The music of Semana Santa is as serious as its subject, the crucifixion. The central song is the Saeta. Sung from balconies to the processions of penitents below, it starts with a moan, descends into a lament and ends in a groan. Often grouped with this music is Misas Flamencas, flamenco music which is performed in a religious context.    Two weeks later, Sevilla completely switches gears and closes down again for the Feria de Abril, a joyous week of music and dancing Sevillanas, one of the most glorious events of the year!   One of my best trips to Spain was to the Feria with my dance class… a week of dancing, tapas, and non-stop fun with an exceptional group of flamenco afficiandos.

WINES 

2009 Señorio de Garci Grande Verdejo, Rueda ($15.99) This fresh white has aromas of pear and green apple with hints of anise. There’s a noticeable weight on the palate, along with flavors of melon, citrus and herbs.   The zesty finish is clean and long. Delicious! 

2006 Abadia Retuerta Rívola, Sardon de Duero ($15.99) This isn’t a new wine on our shelves, but the 2006 vintage is so tasty that we bought up a quantity before it runs out. 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet, Rívola brims with juicy red and black fruit.  Notes of cedar, spice and herbs are given lift by abundant minerals. Full-bodied, with firm tannins from 12 months barrel aging,  this savory red has a fresh and lingering finish. Highly recommended!

Special wines arrived today!

2006 Aalto, Ribera del Duero ($58.00) Aalto is a partnership between Mariano Garcia, renowned former winemaker at Vega Sicilia and Javier Zaccagnini, former President of Ribera del Duero’s governing body. “Sexy, highly complex bouquet of blackberry, blueberry, truffle and smoked meat, with a sexy floral undertone. Weighty yet graceful, offering sweet dark berry flavors and suave candied violet and clove qualities. Impressively fresh and focused wine, with strong finishing spiciness and a lingering note of dark berry preserves-and drinking well right now.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer

2006 Aalto PS, Ribera del Duero ($120.00) “The glass-staining 2006 Aalto PS was aged for 32 months in 70% new French oak. It emits a super-expressive aromatic array of pain grille, crushed stone, lavender, spice box, and blackberry. Firm and structured on the palate, it has a boatload of intense, succulent, spicy fruit, ripe tannin, and impeccable balance. Drink this lengthy, powerful effort from 2016 to 2036.” 96 points Wine Advocate

2007 Chryseia, Douro ($50.00)  The 2003 Chryseia was one of the best Portuguese reds we’ve ever tasted, and thus when we were offered a case of the spectacular 2007 vintage, we jumped on it. It sold out so quickly that we got the only case in the Northwest from the first shipment. Another shipment may arrive in the future, but don’t wait if you love powerful, complex, Portuguese reds! “Pure and brambly, showing fresh, up-front aromas of raspberry and plum, with flavors to match. There’s a well-defined minerally essence to this, followed by a long finish of vanilla and cream, with hints of French roast. Drink now through 2014. 2,965 cases made.” 93 points Wine Spectator

EVENTS

Friday April 22 is Earth Day. The Pike Place Market has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy for Picnic For The Planet. 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

Flamenco de Raiz, direct from Spain, performs at Kirkland Performance Center on April 29 and 30th, and on May 1 at Sleeping Lady Theater, Leavenworth WA. Don’t miss this if you are an afficiando of flamenco puro!

RECIPES

Brightly dyed, hard-boiled eggs have to be disposed of after the Easter egg hunt. Spanish tapa bars show great inventiveness in creating the gourmet hard boiled eggs. Alioli or romesco sauces can be mixed with the mashed yolk of a hard boiled egg and then used to refill the white. A sprinkle of smoky La Vera pimentón, paprika made in Spain from red peppers dried slowly over oak wood fires, and a dusting of minced parsley add the finishing touches. Here is something, actually two things, a little more complex because we use the whites for one tapa and the yolks for another.

BABY SHRIMP MEAT STUFFED EGGS

Makes 24 tapas

¼ teaspoon Sweet smoked pimentón

½ cup Mayonnaise (commercial or homemade)

½ pound Baby Shrimp Meat

1 dozen Hard-boiled eggs

12 Lemon stuffed olives, cut in half lengthwise for garnish

Combine the first three ingredients. Half the eggs and remove the yolks. Fill the cavity in the egg halves with the shrimp mixture. Top with a lemon stuffed olive. ¡Ole!

EGG YOLK-ROMESCO MONTADITOS

At this point you are looking at a dozen left-over egg yolks. Use them to make Montaditos, two dozen little open faced sandwiches.

12 Hard-boiled egg yolks

¼ cup Romesco sauce (commercial or homemade)

½ cup Alioli  (garlic mayonnaise – commercial or homemade)

pinch Salt

grind Black Pepper

24 slices Small Baguette

24 Ripe olives, pitted (optional)

2 tablespoons Minced Parsley (alternative)

In a large yellow mortar, mash the yolks, romesco and alioli into a paste. Cover each of the bread slices with this mixture. Top with an olive or sprinkle with minced parsley.  

One more!  Click Basque for chef Gerald Hirogyen’s shrimp and egg skewer recipe.

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An Exciting Week of Wine Arrivals

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                               April 1, 2011

April is shaping up to be a fantastic month for wine (and that's no April Fool's Day joke)! On Tuesday April 19, 2011 we've got a special dinner coming up at The Harvest Vine featuring the stellar wines of Rioja's Bodegas Ontañón. Fifth generation family member Raquel Perez Cuevas will be in town and will guide us through an evening of wines paired with The Harvest Vine's always glorious food. $65.00 per person, includes four wine flights - 2008 Vetiver Blanco, 2007 Ontañón Crianza, 2004 Ontañón Reserva and 2001 Ontañón Gran Reserva. Click Ontanon Dinner for the menu. 6:30 Guest Arrival. 

We'll be carrying freshly made, ready-to-eat Empanadas every Saturday. Owner Rodrigo of Maria Luisa Empanadas will deliver them at noon and feature six flavors, including vegetarian. They are $3.00 each, with a 10% discount for purchases of 6, and 20% off for a dozen. Great for parties!  We receive 8 dozen each Saturday, so please pre-order if you'd like to pick up a large quantity.  

NEW AND RE-STOCKED WINES ARRIVED YESTERDAY

2001 Ontañón Gran Reserva Rioja ($40.00) We haven’t tasted this yet since it just came in the door yesterday. But given the superb nature of Ontañón Crianza 2007 and Reserva 2004, the 2001 Gran Reserva can’t be anything less than incredible. It will be poured at the Harvest Vine wine dinner on April 19th.

2001 Viña Tondonia Reserva, Rioja ($40.00) From the artisanal and most traditional Rioja producer R. Lopez Heredia, 2001 Tondonia Reserva was barrel aged for six years and a further 3+ years in bottle. This would be a Gran Reserva from any other producer.

2004 Rioja Bordon Reserva ($16.99) is back in stock! Smoke and leather wrapped around a cherry-plum core. One of the best traditional Rioja Reservas from an excellent vintage.

2001 Beronia Gran Reserva ($26.99) A bargain from the superb 2001 vintage, it displays structure and focus. Sweet black cherry, spice and mushroom mingle on the palate; you’d be hard pressed to find a better match for lamb. This is so good that we bought all of the remaining bottles of this vintage!

2001 Casajus Antiguos Viñedos Ribera del Duero ($39.00) Owner, oenologist and the only employee of boutique Bodegas Casajus, Jose Alberto Calvo Casajus is also the village baker in his village of Quintana del Pidio, pop. 200. Born into a family of grape growers and educated in oenology, Jose Alberto produces the Antiguos Viñedos from a vineyard planted in 1920, ranking it among the oldest vineyards in Ribera del Duero.  He uses small stainless steel tanks equipped with a micro-oxygenation devise, new French Allier barrels for malolactic fermentation, and a combination of French Allier and American oak to produce an average of 50,000 bottles per year. 2001 Casajus Antiguos Viñedos is a powerful red with driving minerality.  Meaty black fruit, dark chocolate and notes of vanilla have a firm tannic spine. This is a serious wine, and one not to be missed by fans of Ribera del Duero wines.

2006 Val Soltillo Crianza, Ribera del Duero ($24.99) Another classic producer from Ribera del Duero, Val Soltillo has been out of the market for years but is now back on our shelves!

A new shipment of Lustau sherries is here. Half bottles of Los Arcos Amontillado, Puerto Fino, Jarana Fino and East India are finally here again.

EXCEPTIONAL WINES ON SALE

New vintages of wines are released each year whether or not distributors have sold the prior year’s inventory, and with the sluggish economy, many excellent wines are on close-out prices. We scooped up some fantastic bargains this week, so take this opportunity and trade up to a better wine!

2005 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Now $19.99, was $29.99.   Emilio Moro is consistently one of the best mid-priced producers in Ribera del Duero. In the last decade only their 2002 vintage scored below 90 points, and it’s become my go-to wine from this region. The 2005 offers up ripe black fruit, graphite, mineral and chocolate in a full-bodied style with plenty of grip. With enough structure to age well for additional years, this is a great time to put a case or two away in the cellar!  

2007 Finca Míllara, Ribera Sacra $36.00 – regular price $50.00.  Produced from 100% Mencia grown on red slate terraces in Galicia’s remote Ribera Sacra region. Dark, intense, and focused, Finca Míllara exhibits deep black fruit with a fine minerality, reminiscent of a full-bodied Burgandy. Notes of earth with supple tannins and a lingering dry finish.  “Finca Millara’s 2007 Mencia is the estate’s debut vintage. It spent 12 months in new French oak and is deep purple in color. The nose gives up an iron-like minerality, brooding black raspberries, smoke, and floral notes. Sweet, supple, and concentrated on the palate, this lengthy effort has enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years and will offer a drinking window extending through 2019.” 91 points Wine Advocate

2005 Parmi l’Esperit de Porrera Priorat $38.00 – regular price $60.00. Parmi oenologist Christian Patat makes wine with Enzo Pontoni at Italy’s boutique Miani Winery. Produced in the same style as the Miani Merlot, the wines of Parmi are “absolutely spectacular” says Pontoni. A blend of 50-50 Garnacha and Carinena, with 24 months in new oak barrels, l’Esperit is explosive, concentrated and focused. With notes of vanilla on the front palate, expressive ripe fruit and hints of eucalyptus on the mineral finish, it manages to be both elegant and powerful. Parmi L’Infant (a younger blend) was singled out by Eric Asimov in his NY Times article  on 3/16/2011. When the distributor sold out of L’Infant, the winery temporarily dropped the price on L’Esperit and we were lucky to get one case at this price.   The next shipment of this wine will retail at the normal $60.00 price so pick up a bottle while you can!   Only 250 cases of this wine were produced.

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Perdiz Bomba Rice is back

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                         March 4, 2011

18 pallets of new and restocked items arrived yesterday from Spain!

Paelleras & gas paella burners, all sizes are back in stock. Paella spatulas in 3 sizes.

Ferrer brand soups and sauces from Barcelona: Gazpacho, Romesco Sauce, Brava Sauce in two sizes, Roasted Peppers, Apple Vinegar.

New shipment of Terracotta Cookware. All sizes of cazuelas are restocked, and we now carry yellow tagines and small cazuelas. 

Bevia Sea Salt: In fine, course and extra course ground $3.99/750 gr

 Rafael Salgado Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 1 liter glass bottle: $19.99

Padron pepper seeds: It’s time to start seeds indoors – but don’t plant outside until you can walk around outside without  a coat. Memorial Day?  

New harvest Perdiz and Signo rice is back in stock. 

1 kg. Signo Valencian rice: $3.99, 5 kg. bag of Valencian rice: $17.95

 1 kg. Perdiz Bomba Rice: $9.99; 5 kg bag of Bomba rice: $44.95

Chorizo Vela is back by popular demand! This mild and smoky giant cured chorizo is made from premium cuts of pork loin, spices and just the right infusion of Pimeton de La Vera. Ready to eat and perfect for tapas. Buy a Whole Chorizo Vela (2.75LB) for $43.00, or have it sliced for 17.99/pound. Find it at our sister store Paris Grocery, 2 doors south of Spanish Table. 

NEW WINES 

2009 Basa, Rueda ($13.99) We’ve been eagerly awaiting the new release of this favorite white! From the excellent 2009 vintage, Basa is a blend of 85% Verdejo, 10% Viura and 5% Sauvignon Blanc. Rich and concentrated on the palate, its green apple, grapefruit and lime flavors have a grassy edge with a refreshing and persistent finish. Winemaker Telmo Rodriguez continues to produce exceptional wines at great prices.

2009 Esporāo Verdelho, Alentejo ($12.99) The Verdelho grape originated in the Azores Islands and was then taken to Madeira, where it makes a delicious medium-sweet fortified wine. The Esporāo winery was the first to bring this original clone to the Portuguese mainland for use in dry white table wines. The 2009 Verdelho has aromas of delicate white flowers with ripe tangerine and lemon-lime notes. Unoaked, it’s clean flavors display a creamy roundness with a fresh and moderately zesty finish.

2007 Esporāo Monte Velho Vinho Tinto, Alentejo ($9.99) We tasted Monte Velho last summer at the Herdade do Esporāo winery in Portugal and couldn’t wait to get this value-packed red on the shelf!  Energetic and harmonious, it shows a depth of bright fruit from its blend of Aragonez, Castelão and Trincadeira grapes. Intense aromatics are followed by notes of bing cherry, plum, blackberry and minerals. We’ve never been disappointed with any Esporāo wine, and Monte Velho will be a hit with any full-bodied red drinker. Excellent with rice or poultry dishes.

2008 Marc Ripoll Sans Black Slate Priorat ($19.99) “Ablend of garnacha, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah… scents of redcurrant, raspberry and spicecake and a suave rose note. A spicy, penetrating midweight that offers sweet red and dark berry flavors and strong mineral spine. Fine-grained tannins add grip and shape to a long, juicy finish. I prefer this wine’s extroverted, perfumed personality … delicious now.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

2008 Triumvirat, Priorat ($35.00) “The 2008 Terra de Verema Triumvirat is made by Ester Nin, vineyard manager of Clos Erasmus. It is a blend of 90% Carinena, 5% Garnacha, and 5% Syrah aged for 12 months in French oak. Dark ruby-colored with an already complex bouquet of pepper, Asian spices, mineral, and black cherry, on the palate it is supple, suave bordering on opulent, succulent, and very long. It can be approached now but will be more expressive with another 2-3 years of bottle age.” 94 points Wine Advocate

2002 Abel Mendoza Jarrate Rioja ($14.99)  Abel Mendoza has been called a “Burgundian winemaker in Rioja” and a  pioneer of new wave Riojas. He gives top priority to his vineyards which he farms biodynamically, and the production of the finest, phenolically ripe fruit.   2002 Jarrate spent 12 months in new French oak, and after its 8+ years of bottle age, it has developed a complex elegance. On the nose, its aromas of earthy mushroom are classic Rioja. Black currant and marion berry notes blossom on the mid-palate, with supple tannins and great balance. Persistent and mineral-laden, it finishes with lingering notes of kirsch. This is a wine with finesse.

FLAMENCO PERFORMANCES 

Carmona Flamenco performs with guest Ana Montes on Saturday March 19th at Cafe Solstice.  Details

Ana Montes and Flamenco Danzarte, Big Student Show. Saturday, March 26th,  2011 and  Sunday, March 27th, 2011, Ethnic Cultural Theater, Univ. District.   More info.

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Serpis Stuffed Olives; Great Riojas

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                 February 23, 2011
It was fantastic to see all of you who came in last Saturday for our cooking demo! We fired up a large butano and the 85 person paellera to make Fideuá, which is similiar to paella but uses pasta instead of rice.  We love this dish because it tastes quite different from paella, especially if you serve it with alioli, and it’s another great use of your  paellera! For those who couldn’t make the demo, here’s a copy of our recipe, which can be adjusted for fewer servings:

Fideuá (Valencian Pasta)   Serves 60   

1 cup olive oil

5 each onions chopped

1 head garlic chopped

5 lbs Rockfish fillets chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 bottle white wine

½ gram saffron

6 tbs La Vera smoked pimentón dulce

4 jars Tomate Frito

12 quarts clam juice

5 kilos fideo noodles

10 lbs cooked salad shrimp, whole

Heat olive oil in 40 inch paella pan. Sauté onions, garlic & rockfish for 2 minutes. Stir in wine, saffron, pimentón, & sofrito then add clam juice. When clam juice comes to a boil, add noodles. Return stock to boil and cook until noodles are done and liquid is absorbed (12 minutes or so?). Stir in shrimp meat and heat. Add water if necessary.

OUTSTANDING OLD RIOJA GRAN RESERVAS

Last week I wrote that our store manager Isaac Rivera had turned 30, which was a mistake. I should have done the math, because on his birthday he opened a 1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial Rioja, produced in his birth year. He was blown away by its exceptional balance, vibrancy, soft acidity and dusty earth notes. Happy 29th birthday Isaac!

There’s been a buzz here at the shop about Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especials, ever since we scooped up an amazing deal on 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1991 vintages. Professional duty demanded that we taste them all to make sure they lived up to their potential, and they absolutely do! These are exceptional classic Riojas, gracefully aged, each reflecting the individuality of the vintage. Fans of traditional Riojas should not pass these up!

SPECIAL OFFER: BUY ONE BOTTLE OF EACH MONTECILLO GRAN RESERVA (’81, ’82, ’85 AND ’91) AND RECEIVE A WOODEN GIFT BOX, FOR THE ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICE OF $130.00.

1981 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($50.00) Impressive liveliness in this 30 year old wine. Notes of balsamic, dried cherry and cigar box; elegant with silky tannins. “Complex aromas of plum, red berries, cinnamon, tree bark, pepper and bacon; autumnal in the style of a mature syrah yet still fresh. Less sweet in the middle than the 1982 but more penetrating, with lovely clarity of flavor. Finishes with firm, slightly drying tannins. For tasters unfamiliar with fully mature classic Riojas, this would be an excellent starting point.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($60.00) From an excellent vintage, the 1982 exhibits nuance and impressive complexity. Vibrant and savory, with notes of smoke, mushroom, leather. “The superb 1982 Gran Reserva Seleccion is from a great Rioja vintage. The wine was aged for nearly four years in French barriques and bottled in 1987. It exhibits a deep red-brick color and a sexy nose of earthy minerals, smoky tobacco, spice box, cherry, and red currants. This is followed by a nicely structured wine with elegance and a certain stateliness marking it as a classic example of old-style Rioja. This splendid effort should drink well for another decade.” 93 points Wine Advocate

1985 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($45.00) Initally the 1985 seemed to be the lightest wine of the four, but it gradually opened up with air, and was even better the following day. “Mature aromas of strawberry, meat, leather and truffle. Old-style, slightly funky Rioja flavors of pungent strawberry, leather and baking spices; lovely acidity gives the wine a juiciness and impressive inner-mouth lift. Reminded me a bit of an old Graves. Finishes juicy and long, with a slight dryness. A very idiosyncratic and satisfying example of a fully mature Rioja” 89 points Stephen Tanzer

1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($40.00)  A more modern style, its expressive bright fruit has a beautiful taut balance. “The 1991 Gran Reserva Seleccion, from a difficult vintage, is nevertheless an outstanding effort. It spent 46 months in French barriques before being bottled in 1996. Dark ruby in color, the wine emits a lovely perfume of spice box, tobacco, and cherry. With considerable stuffing consisting of wood, mushrooms, currants and cherries, and a long finish, this deceptively powerful wine can be enjoyed for another 5-7 years.” 90 points Wine Advocate

These new items arrived a few hours ago! 

El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Chorizo Picante; El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Jamon; El Serpis Banderillas

Helios Organic Seville Bitter Orange Fruit Preserves 

Quely Picos, from Mallorca  Rafa Nadal’s Favorite!

Rafael Salgado Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Gullon brand Maria Crackers and Choco Sticks

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Fideuá Demonstration on Saturday

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                  February 17, 2011

Fideuá is a delectable pasta dish from Valencia that is cooked in a Paella Pan. If you’ve only used your paellera to prepare rice dishes, we highly recommend that you experiment with Fideuá. Typically made with seafood and served with alioli, the combinations are as endless as the variety of ingredients you can pull together. This Saturday February 19th, we’re celebrating Manager Isaac Rivera’s 30th birthday.  In celebration of Isaac’s cumpleanos,  Jefe Steve will be demonstrating how to cook a Fideuá, beginning at noon. Stop by to get a free sample of the Fideuá and a copy of the recipe.

Come and shop our expanded Sherry selection!

RED WINES:

2008 Solnia Rioja ($9.99) Bright and juicy, “Ilurce’s 2008 Solnia is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Graciano. This purple-colored offering displays a bouquet of spice box, violets, and black cherry leading to a racy wine with vibrant acidity and plenty of savory black fruit for balance. Drink this excellent value over the next 4-5 years.” 88 points Wine Advocate

2008 Mas dels Frares Priorat  ($17.99) “The 2008 Mas del Frares is an unoaked blend of 50% Carinena, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Garnacha. The nose gives up earth notes, mineral, lavender, and black cherry. Substantial on the palate with good density and ripe flavors, this friendly effort is a good introduction to the region and an outstanding value.” 89 points Wine Advocate

2004 Remelluri Rioja ($34.00) “80% tempranillo, with garnacha, graciano and mazuelo) Opaque ruby. Captivating aromas of cherry, cured meat, tobacco and licorice. Lush and juicy, with fresh red and dark fruit flavors, silky tannins and slow-mounting herbal qualities. Turns sweeter on the finish, with sexy oak spices lingering seductively. This is really delicious and already complex enough to enjoy in the near term. ” 93 points Stephen Tanzer

2006 Damana 5 Ribera del Duero ($18.99) “Plum, raisin, iron and game notes have focus and character in this dense, firm red… harmonious and long” 90 points Wine Spectator

2004 Adagio Reserva Malbec, Mendoza ($13.99) This elegant 100% Malbec is intense with spicy fruity notes, nutmeg and white pepper combined with vanilla, chocolate and coffee aromas.  Voluptuous, this wine has a fleshy taste and long finish.  Unfiltered. 50% is aged in new French oak for one year, then blended with the other half, which is then bottled and aged for another year before release to fully integrate the flavors.

CURED MEATS

Gem Brand Basque Chorizos (Made in Boise, ID) $11.99/16 oz – This customer favorite is back in stock!

Quijote Dry Chorizo is also back in stock, after a long absence.  Kudos to George for getting these products back in the refrigerator case!

Fermin Jamón Ibérico, sliced in 2 oz packages ($9.99)

Soujouk Dried Beef Sausage and Basturma Cured Dried Beef  TheseTurkish specialties are made in USA.

After tasting Creminelli brand Italian salamis, we simply had to stock them.  $9.99 for 5.5 oz, try Casalingo (Mild) or Piccante (Hot).

Spanish Table Spice Kits are back in stock! $19.99 gets you nine small tubs (appx. quarter cup) of distinctive spices, including Aleppo Pepper, Harissa, Sumac and White Peppercorns. These sold out quickly during the holidays.

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Spanish Flavor in Local Restaurants

The Spanish Table Seattle                                        February 4, 2011
We’re fortunate here at The Spanish Table because we meet a ton of local chefs. A great many of their menus are influenced by traveling to, or living in Spain, even if their restaurants don’t serve Spanish food. This makes perfect sense to us; the unique and vibrant flavors of Spain transformed our lives 25 years ago! It now seems that a knowledge of Spanish cuisine is de rigueur for contemporary chefs. This is a very good thing.

The food produced at the following Seattle restaurants is astonishing. Made with Spanish ingredients and served amidst a bustling vibe, the offerings by these chefs are not to be missed:  La Bete Restaurant’s Aleks Dimitrijevic externed at 3 star Michelin El Raco de Can Fabes in Catalonia. Try his churros and chocolateKylen McCarthy, chef at newly reopened Marjorie was sous chef at Harvest Vine for years. His roast goat special was superbly succulent and tender. Chef Wayne Johnson of Andaluca Restaurant traveled extensively by invitation of the Spanish government to explore regional foods and cook with local chefs. Order the Spicy Calamari from the recently expanded pintxos menu.

Seattle is incredibly fortunate to have several authentic Spanish restaurants. The Harvest Vine is a Seattle institution and has earned accolades for their inventive cuisine. Little known facts:  Former Harvest Vine chef Joseph Jimenz de Jimenz was The Spanish Table’s first wine manager, and before opening the restaurant, The Spanish Table carried Carolin and Joseph’s amazing takeout food. Being ahead of the times, we didn’t sell much in those early days but we sure ate well at home!  Olivar Restaurant’s Chef-Owner Philippe Thomelin is a Spanophile from France, who owned a tapas bar in Andalucía for many years. Ocho in Ballard serves tasty Spanish tapas and drinks in Ballard; Pintxo took over the former Txori space in Belltown and offers a great bar ambience with small plates. Taberna del Alabardero is part of Spain’s Grupo Lezamo that operates restaurants, a culinary school and hotels all over Spain. Their two U.S. locations – Washington D.C. and Seattle, WA – are staffed by a congenial Spanish contingent and the food couldn’t be more authentic.

NEW PRODUCT ARRIVALS

Mittica Chocolate Dipped Fig Cakes: There’s nothing we love better than mittica fig cake.  Now they’ve gone a step further and dipped their fig cake with dark chocolate. Give one of these to your Valentine! Located on top of the cheese case.

Iberico Lomo:  This top pork loin is made exclusively from 100% pure bred Pata Negra pigs who roam free on a 400,000 hectare acorn forest. The meat has a smoky, silky rich texture and intense flavor with a touch of paprika and mild tang.  

Gem Basque and Quijote Chorizo are back in stock! 

NEW CHEESES

Monje: Creamier than Cabrales, wrapped in chestnut leaves and so blue it could put Billie Holiday to shame. Monje has a velvety smooth texture with a wonderful peppery blue tang and a lingering hazelnut finish. This Asturian farmhouse blue cheese has been made with raw cow’s milk for over 100 years. Robust and creamy, its complex flavors will unfold on your palate.

Malvarosa: A farmhouse sheep cheese produced in Valencia, it is hand made in the traditional shape. The curds are pressed together in a cheese cloth between boards which gives the cheese a flattened sack look like vella dry jack. Malvarosa has a slight crystalline crunchiness and a buttery flavor with notes of toffee in the finish. This cheese is a labor of love-the cheese maker saved this rare species of sheep from extinction.

Pata Cabra aka goat brick cheese. This unique goat’s milk cheese from Zaragoza is a washed rind cheese which is dense, smooth, creamy and mildly piquant. Faintly goaty, lightly lemony, fresh and full of character with sweet herbaceous overtones and a wonderful mildly bitter finish.

Little Friar Goat Cheese Logs 4oz, $3.49 each, plain or with herbs.  Produced from Merciana goats, this is amazingly creamy.

Goat Tronchon Wonderfully herbaceous, sweet, grassy, slightly piquant and complex with a lingering tangy finish. 

Drunken Goat Special – At $11.99 per pound, this is half off the usual price!  This customer favorite is a mild goat cheese dipped in Monastrell red wine.Fresh off the boat:  

Amarelo, a Portuguese sheep and goats milk cheese.

WINE AND BEEREric Asimov from the New York Times highlights the fascinating ancestry and sub-varieties of Argentinean Torrontes in his February 2 column.  We have six of the Torrontés that are reviewed in the article:  Michel Torino; Catena Alamos; Susana Balbo; Goulart; La Yunta and Terrazas de los Andes Reserva. 

SUPERBOWL REDS:  These three wines are excellent companions to a variety of foods, from chips and guacamole to charcuterie plates, burgers and steaks.

2009 Secreto de Viu Manent Malbec, Colchagua, Chile ($9.99) "Purple/black; smoke, blue and black fruits; excellent volume, complex, savory, long finish.” 91 points Wine Advocate

2008 Kaiken Malbec, Mendoza ($10.99)  Kaiken is a well crafted 100% Malbec, 60% aged in American oak for 9 months.  It displays a purity of blackberry fruit with mineral and coffee notes. "Emphasizes size and friendliness"  88 points Wine Enthusiast

2002 Mas de l'Abundància, Montsant  ($29.99)  Regularly $40.00!  Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Carineña, aged for 10 months in French oak, it's extended time in the bottle has allowed all of the elements to perfectly meld. On the nose, aromas of jam are enhanced by smoky flavors of boysenberry, black tea and licorice. Brooding and meaty, Mas de l'Abundància is full-bodied and complex, with notes of mineral and menthol. The lengthy finish is dry and rich.

Our extensive Iberian and South American beer selection will give any Superbowl party a Latin twist.  We’ve got Sagres and Mikate from Portugal.   From Spain, Estrella Damm, Estrella Daura gluten free beer, Estrella Inedit, Alhambra Lager and Alhambra Negra.  From Mexico, we’ve got Tecate and Bohemia; Jerome beer from Argentina and Casa Beer from Morocco.

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Sensational Flavors

As a youngster I grew up eating home-grown vegetables and home-cooked meals. Fortunately my mother, grandmother and sisters were all excellent cooks and my father’s garden was so bountiful that even our neighbors had enough fresh vegetables to stock their freezers. My fascination with flavors and quality ingredients sprang from these roots and even today, I eagerly await every meal!  With travel came discoveries of astonishing new ingredients and my palate began to yearn for more than fried chicken and tuna noodle casserole. Now that our stores have extensive selections of inspiring cookbooks, there’s no reason to cook the same dishes over and over!   (Paella excepted.)

Last night Steve turned to Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook “Saffron Shores” ($12.99) for a sensational Tunisian Fish Ball Tagine. The fish balls were light, delicately flavored and satiating on a chilly night. Give them a try!

JANUARY SALES ON SELECTED PRODUCTS – WHILE THEY LAST!

3 liters El Toro Pure Olive Oil $9.99

Miguel & Valentino brand Guindilla Peppers $.99 

Ferrer Dried Wild Mushrooms $4.99/ 15 gram jar

 Golden Peppadew Peppers $.99/14 oz 

Ferrer White Gazpacho $.99/24 oz

NEW WINES 

2009 Las Colinas del Ebro Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta ($11.99) This crisp white has notes of chalk and crushed seashell with a zesty citrus finish. “Laid-back aromas of yellow apple, pear, melon and lemon thyme. Silky and modestly concentrated, with fine-grained honeydew and pear flavors and a light kiss of herbs. Tightly wound for the variety, finishing with good bite and lingering herbacity.” 88 points Stephen Tanzer

2000 Bodegas Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva ($22.99) This spectacular rosé is excellent all year long but perhaps best in the cooler season when its savoriness is a divine match for rich meat or poultry dishes. In yesterday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov describes Viña Tondonia Rosé as “pale, coppery, complex wine that compels you to smack your lips at the tactile pleasure of rolling it around in your mouth. Jamon Iberico please!”

2009 Tapiz Malbec, Mendoza ($11.99) Tapiz has inviting aromas of violets which compliment smoke, raspberry and plum cake notes. Hints of vanilla, menthol and incense give added complexity on the palate. Elegant with a velvety, persistent finish, it is also a terrific value!

2008 El Pecado, Ribera Sacra ($84.00) The 2008 El Pecado is produced by winemaker Raul Perez, who makes some of Spain’s most prized wines in the cool, green D.O. Ribeira Sacra of Galicia. His reds, made from the Mencia grape are reminiscent of top shelf Burgundy. The precision and elegance of these wines is astounding. Prized for their quality as well as their rarity: 115 cases of 2008 El Pecado were produced and only 16 cases were sent to the U.S. “The 2008 El Pecado is 100% Mencia from Ribera Sacra and offers up exotic, kinky aromas of mineral, incense, Asian spices, lavender, boysenberry, cranberry, and black raspberry. On the palate it is satin-textured, intense, complex, and stylish.” 95 points Wine Advocate

2006 Alion, Ribera del Duero ($90.00) The latest release of Vega Sicilia’s Alion has just arrived! “Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven scents of redcurrant, raspberry, spicecake and dried rose, with a smoky overlay. Juicy and precise, offering lively red fruit flavors and a suave floral pastille quality with aeration. Weightier on the finish, where the floral note lingers with authority and persistent spiciness.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer, 94 points Wine Advocate

GREAT MEATS

Zoe Meats Chorizo: A perfect balance of pork, fat and pimenton, it contains no nitrates/nitrites. This überlicious chorizo is a favorite of our Spanish customers. We carry a small 8oz version or you may buy it sliced, but we recommend the larger chorizo for the best value. $25.99/lb

Lomo Embuchado – This domestic lomo is a dry-cured pork loin that is very popular in Spain as part of a traditional tapas course. Always extremely lean, this cured meat is marinated before aging with an array of spices including garlic and paprika bringing out the full flavor of the pork. $34.99/lb

Upcoming Flamenco shows: This Friday and Saturday evening at Taberna del Alabardero: Don’t miss Manolo Leiva. Click here for details.

TUNISIAN FISH BALL TAGINE

In Spain, Sephardic fish balls, (called albondigas) were seasoned simply with parsley and maybe a little cheese, then fried and served with tomato sauce. Tunisian Jewish fish balls are more highly seasoned. To hold the fish together, most cooks use fresh bread crumbs. The fish balls may be fried or poached, then simmered in fish broth flavored with tomato puree, and served with couscous. Some recipes use chopped tomatoes and peppers in the broth.

Serves 6 TO 8

FOR THE FISH BALLS:

1½ lbs mild white fish, such as cod, sole, sn apper or bass

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely chopped

½ Teaspoons kosher salt

½ Teaspoon harissa (try the rose petal harissa)

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

4 Slices stale bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry, or 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Olive oil for frying

TOMATO SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, minced

6 Tablespoons tomate frito, or 4 tomatoes, chopped

2 Cups fish broth or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Couscous for serving

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To make the fish balls, bone and finely chop the fish. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the fish with all the remaining ingredients except the egg and oil. Mix well, Add the egg and mix until smooth. Dipping a spoon and your fingers in cold water, remove a sample of fish paste and roll into a ball. Fry in a little olive oil and taste and adjust the seasoning. Form the rest of the fish paste into I-inch balls. Either fry now, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat ½ inch oil over medium-high heat and fry a few fish balls at a time until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the fish balls and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over couscous, sprinkled with parsley.

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